Psst, wanna see something awesome? Well, do ya? Do ya?! DO YA?! Okay, settle down. On Monday night, Cartoon Network gave us viewers a not-so-secret preview of CN Studios’ newest cartoon, Secret Mountain Fort Awesome.
Now before I get into the review, I’m going to talk about what started this series in the first place: Uncle Grandpa. (Head below the jump for more.)
Back in 2008, Cartoon Network created a cartoon shorts program in the vein of World Premiere Toons called The Cartoonstitute, which was headed by Craig McCracken and Rob Renzetti. 39 shorts were planned, but only 14 were finished: among them were Danger Planet (created by Derek Drymon), Meddlen Meddows (created by Chris Reccardi), The Awesome Chronicles of Manny & Khan (Joey Giardina and Josh Lieberman), and 3 Dog Band (Paul Rudish). Only two shorts (as of this article) were greenlighted from the project. One was J.G. Quintel’s Regular Show, while the other was Peter Browngardt’s Uncle Grandpa, a storyboard artist known for his work on Chowder.
The short featured a strange man, who was a uncle and grandpa known and loved by everyone. When he breaks a teenage boy’s computer, instead of building an actual computer, he accidentally creates a portal using trash and the kid’s toilet. Various monsters rush out, and the duo has to fight them together. Among these scenarios and a realistic tiger, this reminded me of MTV’s Liquid Television, Ren & Stimpy, Superjail!, Metalocalypse, among others.
Uncle Grandpa itself didn’t get an actual series, but Cartoon Network ended up greenlighting a series about the monsters. Fast-forward to August 2011, and a sneak peek of a full episode of Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, called “Teleport-A-Potty”.
The series starts with Festro (Pete Browngardt) ordering pizza and becoming impatient, believing that the pizza man didn’t “come on time”. Ticked off because they’re banished from the surface where people divulge themselves with pizza, Gweelok (Paul Rugg) creates a Teleport-A-Potty, which can take them to any universe they please. After they travel to different worlds (like Roller Blade Alley, where roller blades that act like gangsta rappers), they enter a universe where monsters enslaves humans and get stuck there thanks to Festro. The monsters meet the evil Helmet Head (yes, he has a big helmet) and get put into jail after Festro writes on his helmet. Suddenly, the humans come to break out the monsters, because Festro is the chosen one that will get back the only toilet on the planet so everyone can “tinkle.” As soon as the war begins, Festro is eaten by a T-Rex, but soon breaks free and discovers that Helmet Head’s helmet is really an oven filled with pizza tree. Of course, Festro begins to jump in and eat as many pizzas as he can. The rest of the gang (thinking that Festro had died) reclaims the toilet, with Gweelok hacking it so they can get home. The humans thank the monsters for saving their world, but even more trouble arises when all of the humans have to tinkle. The monsters must flush the toilet and get back in time before the humans end up using the bathroom. The monsters find Festro to be alive (and fat from eating all the pizzas on Helmet Head’s…..uh, head). Fearing that Festro can’t leave because of his enormus weight, the gang makes a plan to drag him into the toilet. But with time running out, the monsters have trouble reaching Festro, until a simple fart gets him closer to where the monsters can reach him. With the humans dropping their pants, the monsters drag Festro down the toilet just in time, back to their own dimension. In the end, Festro vows to never eat or see another pizza again. As the camera pans out, we discover that they haven’t returned to their universe, but are in a pizza universe, with the pizza box closing with a big “THE END?” written on it.
END SECRET SPOILER
And now, time for my review of the sneak peek. But don’t worry, this isn’t a secret.
Where to begin? Cartoon Network has once again made another new comedy that follows in the footsteps of the twisted insanity Adult Swim and MTV were known for; a comedy that’s almost completely like The Problem Solverz? That’s not a bad thing, because I liked Monday’s sneak peek. It’s just that I expected the sneak peek to be more on the lines of Uncle Grandpa, rather than The Problem Solverz, which surprised me. I don’t know, though there were some things I liked, there were many things that were either uneeded, or just too similar.
I like how the show looks, reminding me of MAD Magazine, John K., Robert Crumb, and Don Martin (among others). I like the character designs, the premise, half of the writing, setting of the show, and that picture of the late Ronald Reagan on the wall. I also like the few references the episode had, ranging from Thundarr the Barbarian to He-Man.
What I didn’t like was Cartoon Network switching the previously-scheduled sneak peek episode “Stealing The Sun” with this one, which is about pizza (The Problem Solverz did this already) and the excessive in-your-face randomness and fast paced talking (yep, very much like The Problem Solverz). The characters Festro , The Fart, and Gweelok act way too similar to Alfe, Horace, and Roba (The Problem Solverz). The gross-out animation was more gross than funny, and finally, where are the females? After a few days I thought I’d like it a lot more, since I loved crazy 90s cartoons (but without the packed grossout humor), but once I saw a lot of the similarities to The Problem Solverz, most of my enjoyment of the dwindled after Monday night.
I still have some hope that this show will hit its own stride of humor, without it being completely gross for the-hell-of-it, but what I saw on Monday night was simply nothing more than a better animated version of The Problem Solverz. I don’t know, maybe it should’ve been on Adult Swim along with recently canceled series, Robotomy.
I’m just sayin’.
Secret Mountain Fort Awesome offically premieres in October, only on Cartoon Network.
(The artwork was done by Robertryan Cory, who works on SMFA as a storyboard artist.)